The US has been waging a war on truth in Syria as it drops to #49 on the Global Press Freedom Index.

America has dropped to #49 on the Global Press Freedom Index, compiled annually by Reporters Without Borders. Reasons for our mediocre ranking include Obama’s unprecedented persecution of whistleblowers, warrantless, mass electronic surveillance and concentration of media ownership narrow enough to make dictators jealous. Add the 2012 legalization of propaganda for domestic audiences to that list, and we’re looking up at Romania (#45), South Africa (#42), and Botswana (#43) as beacons of open expression.

Ironic, then, that Washington’s main obstacle to reality-inversion has become Russia (#148), with Vladimir Putin proclaiming at the UN’s 70th anniversary summit that he “would no longer tolerate the current state of affairs in the world”. Rejecting Washington’s offer to carve an imperial settlement out of Syria (termed “safe zone”), Putin instead struck at western-backed rebels—“moderates” known for tossing a few grenades and calling it a day—with precision-guided missiles. (The bombing of a Russian airliner almost smells like retribution.)

Putin’s rhetoric has the virtue of being simple and direct, refraining from the self-contradictions oozing from Washington. The US allows our allies (The Turks) to bomb and attack our other allies (The Kurds), while rejecting any peace talks that don’t include Assad stepping down as a precondition. All while Washington facilitates the flow of imported fighters to sustain what it calls an “intractable civil war” (the dictionary defines “Civil War” as “a war between citizens of the same country”).

Washington’s refusal to enter negotiations until Syria changes its leadership more accurately falls under another definition: “The use of violence or intimidation to achieve political aims,” the description for “Terrorism” in Meriam Webster’s.

Now we’ll be sending forces into Syria and Iraq, if only to assume a “non-combat role” in a fight to the death. As for the Russians: “The area where we are planning to place the special operators is not an area where they would need to strike,” the Pentagon noted, hinting that perhaps they should check out the local branch of Doctors/Reporters Without Borders instead.

Like the rulers of George Orwell’s Oceania in 1984, our leaders have no intention of “winning” the war in Syria. Rather, the aim is to support the actors and leverage the battle in pursuit of political goals, as Russia aims to prop up its ally, Assad, for an indeterminate period of time.

So it follows that “war should continue everlastingly and without victory,” as George Orwell predicted. In past wars, “When defeat meant the loss of independence…physical facts could not be ignored,” Orwell wrote. Today’s events show that “when war becomes literally continuous…no danger of conquest makes possible the denial of reality which is the special feature of Ingsoc.” Otherwise known as Washington’s official narrative.